Tuesday, July 12, 2022
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Taking Refuge in Cat Woman Bodhisattva

My subsequent door neighbor is a self-described cat woman.  Relying on the time of yr, she feeds anyplace from 5 to fifteen cats in our group.

The older, well-behaved felines sleep in her dwelling at evening earlier than being let again out within the morning. 

For the remaining, she leaves her storage door half open, to allow them to shelter from the warmth and rain.

Her work is endless as a result of there are numerous farm cats in my neighborhood.  They dwell in barns the place the farm proprietor offers them simply sufficient meals and water to maintain them from leaving.  

The cats make up the distinction by consuming mice, rats, squirrels, and anything on 4 legs which may harm the farmer’s crops.

It is a symbiotic relationship that protects the farm’s sources from vermin and provides the cats a secure place to sleep at evening.  However it’s not excellent.  Farm cats aren’t thought of pets.  So, farm house owners do not hassle to have them spayed or neutered.

So, dozens of kittens are born each few months when their dad and mom go into warmth.  Those who survive go feral; leaving the barns and horse stalls of their youth to make a lifetime of their very own.  They’re the castoffs, the runaways, the forgotten kids of nowhere specifically.

Most of them do not survive.  They’re shot for going after a farmer’s chickens.  They’re hit by automobiles.  Or they decide a struggle with the fallacious feline, and succumb to their accidents.  Such is life.

They ones that dwell, nonetheless, owe their survival to my form, cat woman neighbor.  The small comforts that she supplies retains them going by means of the new summers and chilly winters till the time comes for them to cross into Nirvana.

I usually take into consideration my neighbor’s work, and the way it pertains to the bodhisattva path.  In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is somebody who’s realized full enlightenment, and chosen to stay within the cycle of struggling.  

The can go away every time they need, however bodhisattvas select to remain on this defiled world; serving to these beings who’d be left behind.

They look after the castoffs, the runaways, and the forgotten kids of no the place specifically.

One instance of a bodhisattva could be Jizo, a Buddhist monk who vowed to not obtain Buddhahood till all the hells are emptied.  Thus, he is sometimes called the bodhisattva of hell-beings, and the protector of lifeless kids.  

He carries a employees, which he makes use of to pressure open the gates of hell, and a wish-fulfilling jewel that lights the trail in entrance of him.  By way of his work, Jizo helps the denizens of hell achieve benefit, to allow them to be reborn in greater realms.

After we learn in regards to the vows, miracle-powers, and enlightenment of bodhisattvas like Jizo, it may be overwhelming; like watching Michael Jordan dunk a basketball after we’re solely 5 toes tall.  Certain, he can do it, however what does that imply for us?

However the Nirvana sutra teaches that the identical Buddha-nature that lives in Jizo lives in us as nicely.  It is probably not totally realized, nevertheless it’s nonetheless there.  Thus, we too possess the facility of a bodhisattva, the flexibility to save lots of all beings from struggling.

My neighbor is an instance of this.  I think about the hungry cats that enter her storage really feel like they’re in hell.  They dwell a brief, brutal life being chased by stray canines and battered by heavy rains.  However Cat Woman bodhisattva makes use of what little she has to present them a chunk of heaven.  She lets them expertise kindness earlier than their lives come to an finish.

And whereas I discover inspiration within the story of Jizo, its my neighbor who’s taught me essentially the most about bodhisattva work.  Every time she opens her storage, so the cats can are available in, she reveals how every of us can discover goodness inside ourselves and provide it as much as the world.  

By way of her actions, Cat Woman bodhisattva proves we do not must be excellent, enlightened beings.  We simply must be compassionate.

Every of us can take duty for a part of this world and hold it secure from hurt.  Whether or not that is feeding the animals beneath our care, taking time to check-in on family members, or selecting up litter in our communities we will dwell the bodhisattva vow in every day life.

We will save all beings from struggling.

Namu Amida Butsu

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